Depression: the silver lining

Posted by on Nov 18, 2013 in depression | 0 comments



I’ve written about depression quite a bit on Flashfree. Not only is age a risk factor among women (with the highest reported levels in women between the ages of 40 and 49) but, the risk of depressive symptoms may be as much as three times higher among women across the menopausal years compared to women who have not yet reached menopause. Moreover, the risk may be more than twice as likely among women who’ve never had depression previously.

However, there is a silver lining: researchers are reporting that in some women, particularly those who experience depressive symptoms for the first time around the time of menopause, depression will eventually dissipate over the eight years following the final menstrual period. In fact, this was proven true in over 200 women whose symptoms were evaluated over a 14 year period around menopause. In this group, depression scores were significantly higher the 10 years before their final period and then decreased roughly 12% per year after their final menstrual period.  For women with a history of depression, the odds were not quite as favorable; these women were 13 times likelier to develop depressive symptoms around menopause, and may be as much as 8 times likelier than other women to have recurrences of the blues in the years following the final menstrual period.

The researchers note that women who have greater variability in their levels of FSH — follicular stimulating hormone — may be more likely to develop depressive symptoms during menopause. However, the quicker that these levels change, the more likely a woman is to move past the depression as she gets further into menopause.

The old adage, ‘this too, shall pass,’ may be quite true when it comes to depression during menopause. For women whose history overrides the FSH factor, a reduction in stress, psychotherapy, low doses of SSRIs and a boost in physical activity may help to keep things in balance, especially overall wellbeing.

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